Matthew S. Payne is a Chicago-based attorney with a 20-year record of success in civil litigation, real estate law and estate planning.

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What to ask when you are preparing your estate plan

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2022 | Estate Planning

People in Illinois may want to work with an attorney to create an estate plan instead of relying on do-it-yourself plans. Do-it-yourself solutions may not fit every situation. Working with an attorney may decrease the likelihood of errors. If you do an estate plan on your own, you might also not be aware of the range of solutions available in your particular situation.

Questions to ask

However, it is also important to choose the right attorney. There are several questions that an individual should ask the attorney they are considering working with. Make sure the attorney is someone who has a background in estate planning and that they will be the primary person working on the document instead of passing it all off to an assistant. Ask about costs, the timeline for completing the documents and whether the attorney can also be the one who handles probate.

Important points to discuss

Once you have chosen your attorney, there are a number of other things you should discuss to make sure your estate plan is thorough enough. Talk to your attorney about whether a trust would be helpful in your particular situation, particularly if you have minor children who cannot yet inherit property. You can appoint a guardian for these minors in your will. Discuss tax implications for your heirs of the approach you’re considering. Finally, use powers of attorney or other documents to appoint people to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.

Once you have completed your estate plan, make sure that your executor, at minimum, knows where to find the relevant documents. Discussing the plan with family members can make it less likely they will misunderstand your intentions. You also need to review the documents every few years or after any big changes in your family or assets.